On this day in 1980, the restored "old jail" in Albany, Texas, opened to the public as a new art museum. The jail was the first permanent public building in Shackelford County. Construction began in 1877, and the building was completed in August 1878, at the shocking cost to county taxpayers of $9,000. The old jail has housed such notorious outlaws and gunmen as John Selman, who escaped from the place. The prisoners were kept in the upper story, and the jailer and his family lived in the two rooms downstairs. The upstairs had one large room where two cage cells were placed with a walkway around them and a smaller room used as an isolation cell or drunk tank. A new jail was built in 1929, and, except for occupation by an occasional destitute family, the old jail stood vacant until June 1940, when playwright Robert E. Nail Jr. purchased it from the county, using it as a studio and county history archive until his death in 1968. The building was again vacant until 1977, when the Old Jail Foundation was organized and acquired the building for restoration. The jail was opened to the public as a museum and art center in 1980. The Old Jail Art Center's extensive permanent collections include American and European twentieth-century works, Asian pottery tomb figures dating from the early Han Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty, and a collection of pre-Columbian art.
On this day in 1832, San Antonio became the first Texas town to present a list of grievances to the legislature of Coahuila and Texas. The document known as the Bexar Remonstrance was signed by José Ángel Navarro, alcalde of San Antonio. It sought repeal of that part of the Law of April 6, 1830, banning immigration from the United States. It also sought the separation of Texas from Coahuila.
On this day in 1890, the rival Lubbock County towns of Lubbock and Monterey agreed to consolidate. In July 1890, W. E. Rayner and several associates found a suitable site for a town on the north side of Yellow House Draw in Lubbock County. But Rayner insisted on building on the south side of the canyon, assuming that trade routes and a possible railroad line could more readily reach that side. The group split over the issue, and Rayner alone established Monterey in August. The northern contingent, aided by Frank Wheelock and others, established the town of Lubbock at about the same time. Although a rivalry soon developed over which town would become the county seat, representatives from the two factions met that winter and reached a compromise. They agreed to retain the name Lubbock, select a new townsite, consolidate the two towns, move buildings and houses to the new location, and organize a government. At the time of the merger Monterey had a population of fifty and thirty-two buildings. The original site of Monterey was north of the present campus of Texas Tech University.
On this day in 1842, the Somervell expedition disbanded. The Somervell expedition was a punitive expedition against Mexico in retaliation for three predatory raids made by Mexican armies upon Texas in 1842: Antonio Canales Rosillo's descent upon Lipantitlán and the captures of San Antonio by Rafael Vásquez and Adrián Woll. On October 3 President Sam Houston ordered Alexander Somervell to organize the militia and volunteers and invade Mexico. Numbering approximately 700 men, the expedition left San Antonio on November 25 and captured Laredo on December 8. Joseph L. Bennett and 185 men returned home on December 10. Somervell, with a little over 500 men, forced the capitulation of Guerrero, but on December 19, recognizing the failure of his expedition and fearing disaster, ordered his men to disband and return home by way of Gonzales. The Texans were so disappointed with the order to disband that only 189 men and officers obeyed; some 308 men under five captains and commanded by William S. Fisher continued to Mexico on the Mier expedition.